Ukiyo-e Heroes

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Ukiyo-e Heroes

By David Bull & Jed Henry

A Canadian woodblock printer and American Ukiyo-e artist bringing Japanese gaming heroes to life with a traditional Japanese twist

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1. David Bull hard at work in the Mokuhankan 2. Truly delicate and precise skills required for these techniques 3. The varied textures are clear in the white portion 4. Right: printing block, left: printed composition
1. David Bull hard at work in the Mokuhankan
2. Truly delicate and precise skills required for these techniques
3. The varied textures are clear in the white portion
4. Right: printing block, left: printed composition

Ukiyo-e is a form of art originating in Japan during the Edo period. The striking designs of the bold compositions and absence of shadows are characteristic to this uniquely Japanese style of painting that has amassed fans from around the world. While perspective plays a role in the composition of a piece, what also makes this style unique is the tendency to draw background figures in a larger fashion in a way that almost goes against what one might expect. Ukiyo-e is often used as historical reference material for the scenes captured, depictions of altered or no-longer existing famous locations, and the showcasing of lifestyles, jobs, and cultures of the past. In and amongst the historical connotations of this art form is an Ukiyo-e artist who decorates his canvases with characters from modern video games. He goes by the name of Jed Henry. As this Japanophile of an American began his project to depict Japanese video game characters (and other pop culture references) in the style of Ukiyo-e, a certain woodblock printer, named David Bull, made a proposal to him to join forces.

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David Bull is a Canadian who was captivated by the Japanese-style of woodblock printing, and has since made a name for himself as a renowned woodblock printer. He is also popular amongst overseas tourists for the business he operates in Asakusa that sells woodblock prints and also offers the chance to experience woodblock print-making as well.

Ukiyo-e were once creations painted by hand; however, they generally refer to woodblock-printed paintings. The Ukiyo-e compositions are drawn by Jed, and then finished as woodblock-prints by David. These compositions are part of a series known as “Ukiyo-e Heroes” and have taken the world by storm, garnering fans from far and wide.

Six pieces from Ukiyo-e Heroes have been chosen to feature in the Foreword Gallery. We hope you enjoy the works of art as much as we do!

MOKUHANKAN

1-41-8 Asakusa, Taitoku,
Tokyo 111-0032
facebook.com/
UkiyoEHeroes/

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“Ukiyo-e is often used as historical reference materialfor the scenes captured, depictions of altered or no-longer existing famous locations, and the showcasing of lifestyles, jobs, and cultures of the past.

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TOKYO 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

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Design Works and Construction Works of Taisei Corporation, Azusa Sekkei Co.,Ltd. and Kengo Kuma and Associates JV/Courtesy of JSC
*The renderings are intended to show conceptual image at completion and may subject to change. The greenery is a projection of approximately 10 years after completion.

Japan will finally hold its first Olympics in 56 years when the world focuses on Tokyo in 2020. While I’m sure you are all very excited to see the athletes battle it out at various events, there are actually quite a few exciting places around the event venues where you can experience Japanese culture for yourself. Join me through this feature where I will introduce you to some recommended spots around venues of events popular amongst Australians and New Zealanders. Hopefully this will help you along on your travels outside of the Games themselves!

OLYMPIC STADIUM

OLYMPICS:

Opening and Closing Ceremoniesm, Athletics, Football

PARALYMPICS:

Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Athletics

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Design Works and Construction Works of Taisei Corporation, Azusa Sekkei Co.,Ltd. and Kengo Kuma and Associates JV/Courtesy of JSC
*The renderings are intended to show conceptual image at completion and may subject to change. The greenery is a projection of approximately 10 years after completion.

The Olympic Stadium is where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held and serves as the face of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This national stadium was used as an Olympic stadium when Tokyo hosted Japan’s first Games in 1964; it will be reborn as a new venue come 2020. No doubt all eyes will be on this venue, not only because it serves as the main Olympic stadium, but because of its striking design. The concept behind this design was to create a “stadium in forest”. The overall height of the stadium has been kept as low as possible to help it blend in with the lush greenery of the Meiji Jingu Gaien around it, and eaves have been installed around the structure to direct comforting breezes to the seating areas. These eaves are an important element of traditional Japanese architecture and draw from Japanese knowledge to build a construct with a reduced impact on the environment. Japanese-sourced timber and steel have been combined to form the roofs that are essential to Japanese architecture and give birth to a design emanating the warmth of trees. On the top floor of the stadium is an esplanade known as “the forest of the skies” spanning approximately 850 metres around and features an observation space offering great seasonal views of the city skyline. This stadium is sure to become a must-go sightseeing spot outside of the Olympic Games, so make sure you drop on by to visit this venue that holds a historical spot in the united heart of Japan.


TOKYO STADIUM

OLYMPICS:

Football, Modern Pentathlon (Swimming, Fencing, Riding, Laser-Run), Rugby

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©Tokyo 2020

Tokyo Stadium was a major venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Perhaps the rugby fanatics out there are more familiar with this place as the venue for the Australia vs Wales match during the tournament. Football (of the round-ball variety) matches are also often played here. There are plenty of things to see and do around the venue itself, such as: a visit to the Tokyo Racecourse, where famous horse races are held; a tour of the Suntory Musashino Brewery; or a stop by the 1,300-year-old Jindaiji Temple, for visitors all around to get a nonsports fix. Also found nearby is the “Olympic Marathon Turning Point Monument”, which marks the turning point for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic marathon. Take a stroll over to see a part of history while on your trip to see history in the making.


ARIAKE TENNIS PARK

OLYMPICS:

Tennis

PARALYMPICS:

Wheelchair Tennis

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Conceptual image following the Olympic Games as of January 2019 ©Tokyo 2020

This venue is said to be the Japanese sacred grounds for tennis since it serves as the venue for renowned pro tennis matches. It also known as a place brimming with lush nature as it features a promenade and jogging course in its surrounds covered by trees, amongst other greenery. Nearby, you can find: the VenusFort, a themepark styled shopping centre designed to replicate a medieval European town; the Fuji Television studios where you can have a sneak peek at the facilities; and DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, a large entertainment facility that offers virtual reality and other fun experiences to keep you highly entertained outside of the Olympics. Not far from the AQUA CiTY ODAIBA shopping mall is a sightseeing spot where you can find a 1/7thsized replica of the Statue of Liberty. There is also the Toyosu Fish Market nearby, which just happens to be one of the largest fish markets in the world.


OI HOCKEY STADIUM

OLYMPICS:

Hockey

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Conceptual image following the Olympic Games as of January 2019 ©Tokyo 2020

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Conceptual image following the Olympic Games as of January 2019 ©Tokyo 2020

Track and field, baseball, tennis, and other facilities are combined together in this largescale sports park built in the Oi Pier Ocean Park. The venue has been built especially for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and will be used as a multi-purpose sports facility for sports, such as hockey, following them. Within the park grounds where the venue can be found are places to fish, as well as areas where Aussies can scratch their BBQ= itch by cranking up one of the grills there. BBQ facilities are available for rent and BBQ ingredients can be purchased on the spot, so there’s no excuse to not strap on an apron and get those fires roaring. Nearby you can also find Seseragi no Mori (Forest of Streams), where you can do a spot of bird or insect watching amongst the ponds and creeks, or visit the Sakura Hiroba (Cherry Blossom Square) to enjoy the popular Japanese pastime of seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom in the spring.


TOKYO AQUATICS CENTRE

OLYMPICS:

Aquatics (Swimming, Diving, Artistic Swimming)

PARALYMPICS:

Aquatics (Swimming)

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Conceptual image following the Olympic Games as of January 2019 ©Tokyo 2020

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Conceptual image following the Olympic Games as of January 2019 ©Tokyo 2020

This venue will also be newly constructed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and will be used to hold international swimming competitions as a national aquatics centre, as well as a swimming facility for citizens to use upon the conclusion of the Games. Also found nearby is the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre, which has served as the venue for many international events and is the official venue for water polo during the Olympics. The Tokyo Aquatics Centre will be built in the Tatsumi-no-Mori Seaside Park – a place overflowing in greenery featuring facilities such as a rugby field, golf course, and a dog park. In the surrounds is the Tatsumi-Sakura Bridge, which features a modern-design that harmonises with the environment. The view of the skyscrapers from the bridge is absolutely stunning and might not be as well known as it deserves to be. Next to the Tatsumi-no-Mori Seaside Park is the Tatsumi-no-Mori Green Park, which is known as another great cherry blossom spot during the spring, and also features a playground making it the perfect place for families.


TSURIGASAKI SURFING BEACH

OLYMPICS:

Surfing

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©Tokyo 2020

Surfers from all around the world flock to this beach in the pursuit of some of the world’s best waves. Make sure to note that this venue is not in Tokyo, but in the neighbouring Chiba prefecture. This beach is known as the “nami-nori dojo” (training grounds for wave-riders) for the number of pro and advanced surfers who gather here, and has also produced a number of formidable surfers on the pro circuit. Surfboards and wetsuits are available for rental at the local Ichinomiya Tourist Information Centre, and surfing experiences are offered here as well, making it a breeze for visitors to try their hand at surfing without lugging around any gear from home. You can also try some horse-riding here or visit a shrine if you are so inclined. Rent a bicycle from just outside the train station and ride along the seaside to enjoy the great sights on offer.


LOST IN TOKYO?
ASK A LOCAL!

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Tokyo Tourism Volunteers – Before/After the Olympics ©Tokyo Prefecture

Did you know that there are people around to help if you find yourself lost in Tokyo? Volunteer guides have been placed around Tokyo to help tourists on their travels. Please take note that these volunteer guides are dressed differently and go by different names depending on whether you visit during the Olympic Games or outside of that period. Rest assured that they’ll be easy to spot in their bright, traditional Japanese blue ichimatsu (checkered) outfits as they stand around the city. The volunteers can be spotted in famous tourist areas such as Asakusa and Ginza, regardless of when you happen to arrive in Tokyo. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, there are also plans for them to be stationed around event venues, Haneda Airport, and main train stations such as Tokyo and Shinjuku. They will be ready to give you directions using pamphlets and other means, as well as recommend some sightseeing spots to you. Some of the guides also offer assistance in English, so don’t be shy and approach one of them if you’re in need of a little guidance. There are also a range of experiences to be had regardless= of whether you happen to visiting before, during, or after the Olympic and Paralympic period and separate to the services offered by the Tokyo Tourism Volunteer Guides. Thirteen tours are available such as visits to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, a tour around Hamarikyu Gardens to see a traditional Japanese garden, or even experiences to make washi (Japanese paper). Participants will only need to pay for travel and entry fees (including those for the two guides), making these tours great value. In fact, some tours require no money whatsoever. Tours must be reserved between one month to three days in advance, so hop online and book your spot now!

gotokyo.org/en/index.html

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City Cast(City Volunteers) – During the Olympics ©Tokyo 2020